Africa

Enter a keyword
A digital rand in South Africa could cut the high cost of cross-border payments for banks but its introduction is still a few years away, a senior central bank official said, Reuters reported. However, regulation of crypto assets is in the offing and might come into force within nine to 15 months, South African Reserve Bank (SARB) Deputy Governor Kuben Naidoo told Reuters in an interview. It costs 13% of a transaction to remit money from South Africa to another country, more than double the average of the Group of 20 (G20) leading global economies, according to a 2021 World Bank report.
Read more
A regional central bank is clamping down on Bitcoin transactions after the Central African Republic adopted the cryptocurrency as legal tender without consulting its monetary authority, Bloomberg News reported. The Bank of Central African States, which already doesn’t recognize cryptocurrencies, is now preventing all lenders from partnering with payment platforms that transact in digital currencies or from recognizing them as an asset.
Read more
An abrupt halt of Russian gas exports could see economies in emerging Europe, central Asia and north Africa slide back to pre-pandemic GDP levels, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) warned on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Many countries in the EBRD's region of operation, which covers some 40 economies stretching from Mongolia to Slovenia and Tunisia, depend on Russian gas and a sudden ceasing of supplies would lower output per capita by 2.3% this year and 2% in 2023, according to the lender's latest report.
Read more
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has imposed capital controls in an attempt to control the currency’s rapid depreciation, Bloomberg News reported. The Zimbabwean dollar has lost half of its value this year making it Africa’s worst performing currency. Banks in the country have been ordered to stop lending with immediate effect “to minimize the creation of broad money that is prone to abuse for purposes of manipulating the exchange rate,” Mnangagwa said in a televised speech.
Read more
Central African Republic has adopted bitcoin as an official currency, the presidency said on Wednesday, becoming the first country in Africa and only the second in the world to do so, Reuters reported. Despite rich reserves of gold and diamonds, Central African Republic is one of the world's poorest and least-developed countries and has been gripped by rebel violence for years. A bill governing the use of cryptocurrency was adopted unanimously by parliament last week, said a statement signed by Obed Namsio, chief of staff of President Faustin-Archange Touadera.
Read more
Kenya plans to tighten spending and step up efforts to collect more tax as it seeks to bring ballooning state debt under control, Bloomberg News reported. The budget deficit is projected to drop to 6.2% of gross domestic product in the year through June 2023, Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani said on Thursday in his budget speech to parliament in Nairobi, the capital. That compares with an estimated deficit of 8.1% of GDP this year. He plans to finance the 862.5 billion-shilling ($7.5 billion) gap by raising 581.7 billion shillings domestically and 280.7 billion shillings offshore.
Read more
Ghana reopened its land and sea borders on Monday after a two-year closure as it lifted some coronavirus restrictions in an attempt to bolster a flagging economy, AFP reported. President Nana Akufo-Addo also announced in a televised address on Sunday night that the wearing of masks in the West African country is no longer mandatory as active Covid-19 cases drop below 100. Afuko-Addo said outdoor functions can resume at full capacity as long as all persons are fully vaccinated. From Monday, fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to take Covid tests to enter the country.
Read more

Ghana's central bank announced its biggest ever interest rate hike on Monday as it seeks to slow rampant inflation that threatens to create a debt crisis in one of West Africa's largest economies, Reuters reported. The Bank of Ghana raised its main lending rate by 250 basis points to 17%, signaling an aggressive stance against the rocketing price of goods from flour to sugar to fuel, and against a depreciating local currency that has dented investor confidence.

Read more

A new bidding process for the rescue of provisionally liquidated South African Express will open this week based on a re-evaluation of the airline's "intangible assets," according to the legal representative of the provisional liquidators, ch-aviation.com reported. This comes ahead of a liquidation court hearing of the state-owned regional airline now set for July 4, 2022, after it was postponed seven times since the airline was provisionally liquidated in April 2020.

Read more

SA Rugby will take the opportunity in front of a governmental sports portfolio committee to lobby for the return of crowds on Wednesday, the Daily Maverick reported. SA Rugby has kept the sport afloat over two COVID-wracked years, but it won’t be able to survive another year like the previous two. That is the dire warning from the governing body, which it will take to Parliament when it does a regular update to the portfolio committee on sport.

Read more